Glitch doubles deposits, withdrawals at Commerce Bank branches

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Some Commerce Bank customers got a surprise Tuesday when they checked their accounts because deposits were mistakenly double credited.

The computer glitch also doubled withdrawal amounts during a window of time lasting from the end of the business day Monday until it was corrected for most people Tuesday.

For Jeff Stephens of Cape Girardeau, the correction came too late.

"I called to check my balance through the automated system and I saw that there was more money than just my payroll check," he said. "Well, I thought the extra money was from a student loan I was expecting, so I decided to pay some bills."

Stephens said he found out Wednesday his account was overdrawn by $746 after paying his bills.

"I was shocked," he said. "I called the headquarters in Kansas City and the only thing they said was that I could let [my account] sit negative, that they wouldn't charge me penalties for overdrawing."

Jeanne Howard, director of regional marketing for Commerce, said the timing of the mistake was unfortunate because it occurred at the end of the month, when banks see a large increase in transactions.

"What happened is that whenever someone makes a deposit or a withdrawal an electronic note is put in their account to temporarily update it," Howard said. "Sometime after the business day on Monday, the electronic notes got duplicated, so if you had $1,000 in your account and you deposited $100 and withdrew $50, you would end up with $1100."

Howard said that the glitch was so short that less than 3 percent of affected customers would notice. She also said that the mistake was mainly confined to Missouri branches of Commerce Bank.

Stephens is just glad he did notice.

"I called [Commerce] about it, so they told me they'll accept all the checks I have out," he said. "But if you didn't know what was going on and you thought you got the money from a tax refund or something, you might bounce some checks."

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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